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Mack leads Nelson in new poll

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 by Dara Kam

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack has opened up a 46-37 percent lead over incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports poll.

The statewide telephone survey of likley voters also found seven percent of voters preferred another candidate and 10 percent were undecided.

The latest numbers show a reversal of an April poll when Nelson edged out Mack by 47-36 percent. Since then former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux dropped out of the GOP contest.

Rasmussen Reports put the race into the “leans Republican” category because of the new poll.

Nelson’s drop may be attributed to the high-dollar ads launched by conservative groups who’ve spent more than $7 million so far blasting the Democrat. And American Crossroads, founded by George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove, announced it has reserved another $6.2 million in air time to run attack ads against Nelson, who raised about $1.8 million this quarter and has about $11 million in the bank, according to his campaign.

Mack supporters demand LeMieux go away to ‘benefit the entire party’

Friday, April 20th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Political and financial heavy-weights backing U.S. Rep. Connie Mack are asking George LeMieux step out of the U.S. Senate race, a “difficult and selfless step toward unifying our party now.”

Mack supporters sent a letter to LeMieux saying that with Mack leading in the polls, it’s time for LeMieux to drop out.

“Your withdrawal from the election and endorsement of Connie would be of great benefit to the entire Party as we turn now to the fall elections and unify behind our shared goal of stopping President Obama and Senator Nelson from doing any more damage to our state and country. We thank you for your dedicated service to our Party, and hope that you will not only recognize how important it is for conservatives to win in November, but that you will take the difficult and selfless step toward unifying our Party now,” the group wrote.

The ask comes just days after Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said some influential GOP’ers are trying to convince him to throw his hat into the race because they’re dissatisfied with both LeMieux and Mack and are worried that neither can oust incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

LeMieux spokeswoman Anna Nix responded with a swipe at Mack.

“With Mack the Fourth’s history of violence and financial misconduct, voters will no doubt realize he lacks the maturity to be a United States Senator. George LeMieux is the only candidate who can defeat Bill Nelson in November and end Harry Reid’s reign as Majority Leader,” Nix said in a statement.

Read the entire letter after the jump.
(more…)

Down in other polls, Connie Mack-bashing George LeMieux wins over FFRW

Monday, February 20th, 2012 by Dara Kam


After trashing front-runner Connie Mack at a GOP women’s forum Sunday afternoon, George LeMieux emerged as the winner of the group’s straw poll in the Republican U.S. Senate primary.

LeMieux, who served for about 16 months alongside incumbent (and target) U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, is trailing Mack by 30 points in some polls.

But the GOP ladies apparently liked him enough to give him a considerable lead over retired Army Col. Mike McCalister and Mack, who came in last.

The results were interesting, FFRW VP Kim Carroll said in an e-mail, because a poll on the organization’s website prior to Sunday’s event resulted in a virtual three-way tie.

The candidates did not appear together during the two-hour forum, and were only in the same room together briefly, although the trio was scheduled to be on stage at the event’s conclusion.

Mack, who was up first, left the Hotel Duval shortly after fielding prepared questions from the women. McCalister followed, and LeMieux went last, hanging around after the meeting and working the crowd that included some of the state’s most influential Republican women, including RNC Co-Chairwoman Sharon Day. The straw poll of 117 members of the FFRW’s executive committee was held shortly after the forum.

One of the questions specific to LeMieux dealt with an explanation for his ties to former Gov. Charlie Crist, a once-loved politico now anathema to party loyalists after he jumped the GOP to run as an independent in a losing fight for the U.S. Senate against Marco Rubio.

“I’m my own man. And I proved it when I was in the US Senate,” LeMieux said. “I governed based upon my conservative values, your conservative values. A lot of us in this room supported the former governor at one time or another. And he disappointed all of us.”

LeMieux handled his response well, some of those present said.

Each of the candidates appeared separately onstage and were asked questions posed by members and selected and edited by FFRW chairwoman Cindy Graves.

Each candidate was supposed to be hit with a somewhat critical question. LeMieux was asked about his former employer Crist, McCalister was asked about whether he has exaggerated his military career and Mack was asked…nothing.

The Congressman was supposed to be questioned about criticism that he does not spend enough time in his Ft. Myers-area district but instead divides his time between Washington and California, where his wife and fellow congressional colleague U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack resides.

“Whoever was given the question to ask didn’t ask it,” Graves said.

Endorsement reversal: Haridopolos backs pal Connie Mack in U.S. Senate race

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 by Dara Kam

One-time U.S. Senate candidate and Senate President Mike Haridopolos is backing long-time friend U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV in the GOP primary, Haridopolos told editors and reporters this morning.

Haridopolos said he’s supporting Mack because he’s disappointed in the negative campaigning that’s dominated the GOP race thus far.

“I was not exactly pleased in the direction in which the senate primary was moving,” Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, told a gathering of reporters and editors at the Associated Press Florida Legislative Planning Session shortly before noon. “I think he’d make an outstanding senator, not just candidate…I want to see us elevate the political discussion. What has disappointed me…is there’s a lot of finger-pointing. Let’s elevate the debate…as opposed to the negative campaigning that’s been done to this point.”

After initially saying he would not get into the race, Mack has now thrown his hat into a crowded GOP field. Former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, former state representative Adam Hasner of Delray Beach, businessman Craig Miller and Mike McAllister are all vying to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat. The four declared GOP candidates have been plagued by underwhelming poll numbers and fundraising.

Early this spring, Mack, a Cape Coral Republican who served in the Florida House alongside Haridopolos, endorsed Haridopolos, who dropped out of the race this summer.

McCalister, Miller ready to turn back the political clock

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 by John Kennedy

A pair of Republican U.S. Senate candidates showcased their stump speeches Wednesday at the Associated Press’ annual planning session at the state Capitol, with both pledging to shrink government and effectively turn back the political clock.

Craig Miller, a former restaurant executive, said it was time to end Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s four decades as an elected official, saying “I think 40 years is enough.”

He also dismissed the entry of U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, into the race, saying it only added “one more career politician,” to a lineup that already includes former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, short-term Senate appointee George Lemieux, and tea party adherent Mike McCalister.

“I am the only true business person in the race,” Miller said.

McCalister also had a turn at the microphone, promising less regulation and “lower taxes for everyone.”

“We’ve got to get government out of the way. And we’re going to have to create a more business friendly economy,” McCalister said.

McCalister said he’d reduce federal spending by revamping Social Security and Medicare for future generations, and warned against an enduring threat of Communism. Miller derided the nation’s minimum wage, saying it hurt businesses and restrains hiring, fondly recalling working for $1-an-hour at age 13.

Mack’s entry into the race last month underscores the fluidity of the GOP contest. Polls show most Republican voters are undecided. None of the candidates have emerged as a frontrunner, and fund-raising remains modest.

Miller said that gives him a chance.

“The person that surfaces from the primary is the person with the right message, no matter where they come from,” Miller said.

Hasner forms U.S. Senate exploratory committee

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 by George Bennett

Hasner

Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner of Boca Raton has opened an exploratory committee for a 2012 GOP bid for U.S. Senate with Republican superlawyer Cleta Mitchell handling the paperwork in Washington, a Hasner adviser confirms.

Hasner, who has spent the last month or so crisscrossing the state talking to local GOP activists and attending Lincoln Day dinners, appears poised to join a crowded Republican field hoping to unseat two-term Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Other potential GOP candidates include state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, former appointed U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, U.S. Rep. Connie Mack and wealthy Delray Beacher Nick Loeb.

Hasner served in the state House from 2002 to 2010. Many expected him to run for Congress or state Senate when he ran into term limits, but Hasner announced in 2009 that he’d sit out the 2010 cycle while his wife Jillian managed Meg Whitman’s campaign for governor in California.

Eye on 2012 Senate race as LeMieux speaks at Forum Club today

Monday, December 6th, 2010 by George Bennett

U.S. Sen. George LeMieux’s appearance at a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches lunch today in West Palm Beach puts the spotlight on Florida’s 2012 U.S. Senate race.

Republican LeMieux is winding down a 16-month gig after being appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist in 2009. At the time, Crist was the 2010 Republican Senate frontrunner and LeMieux, his former campaign manager and chief of staff, was seen as a seatwarmer for his ex-boss. LeMieux ended up campaigning for Marco Rubio when Crist bolted the GOP for an independent bid.

Now LeMieux is seen as one of several potential Republican candidates for 2012, when Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is up for reelection. Some other Republicans to watch: former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner of Boca Raton, new state Senate President Mike Haridopolos and U.S. Reps. Connie Mack and Vern Buchanan from Florida’s west coast.

Mack won’t run for Senate

Friday, April 3rd, 2009 by George Bennett


Another Republican is clearing the way for a potential U.S. Senate bid by Gov. Charlie Crist.

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, who used to represent a portion of Palm Beach County in the state House before moving west to represent a Fort Myers-area congressional district, says he won’t run for U.S. Senate next year and will back Crist if the governor decides to pursue the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Mel Martinez in 2010.

Crist is expected to announce in May whether he’s running. Of the potential non-Crist Republican candidates for Senate, Mack was among the strongest in polls — perhaps because he’s the son of former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack and the great-grandson of legendary suit-wearing Philadelphia A’s manager and baseball Hall of Famer Connie Mack.

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